Temperatures drop and people start throwing boiling water in the air this week at Davis!

Nick’s Cartoon of the Week

Now that the temperature’s hit −23°C, everyone’s trying their hand at throwing the pan of water.

Reminder to Stu… the water must, of course, be hot…


Measuring Adam’s Flat

Once a month I head out to a place called Adam’s Flat — my task, along with whoever accompanies me for the day, is to download data from some automated temperature loggers and to measure the water levels in a handful of small wells drilled into the ground. On this particular day it was −20 degrees Celsius with next to no wind and hardly a cloud in the sky. Lovely weather for outside work if you're wearing enough layers.

Featured below is a photo of the blue Hägglunds that we used to get out to the site. The snow is too deep and soft to use a ute or a quad bike at the moment, so this is our only option. In one of the other photos, right of the frame, you can see the empty drum (filled with rocks) used to hold the flexible solar panel above the snow line. This keeps the batteries charged, which in turn stops them from freezing (discharged batteries have a lower acid concentration, which makes it easier to freeze the water in them).

We use a Toughbook to connect to the data loggers with an RS-232 cable. The software is then opened and used to connect and download the data. Downloading the data takes about 10 minutes per logger (there are two in this Pelican case). You'll notice I’m giving the thumbs up here because the software connected first time without a problem. It’s nice when everything just works!

As you can see the area is, indeed, quite flat. The Australian Antarctic Division is keen to determine how the water table moves, where and when the subterranean water freezes and what effect the yearly melt has at this site.

Craig, one of the diesel mechanics (and my chauffeur for the day) provided great assistance on the day by helping measure the water level in the tube and writing down the measurement at the top of the tube. There are about 10 of these drill holes spread across the Flat.

Adam’s Flat covers a large area. To get out there it takes 45 minutes by ‘Hägg’ or two to three hours by foot depending on the snow conditions.

This is just one of the science and survey projects the Comms team support year-round. Once the sea ice has returned we also have tide gauges to measure. Where the data loggers on land take 10 minutes, the tide gauges take hours to download data from. Still, it’s great to get off the station and away from my desk for a day. There aren’t many jobs where you get field trips like this!

Rob Isaac — Comms Tech

Monitoring Ecosystem Stability in Model Marine-Derived Antarctic Lake Systems: an update

As the cold weather is closing in we have been out testing some of the sampling gear we will be using on the lakes through winter. This test, working in −15°C to −20°C temperatures, has given us a good insight into the conditions we will be dealing with on the lakes, and what modifications we will need to make to our gear to make it winter ready.

Sarah Payne and Alyce Hancock

On the job

We had all been wondering how long it would be before the temps would drop below −20°C, the winds would pick up, visibility drop and the station become covered in snow — well this last week there wasn’t a need to talk about it any further.

We've experienced a number of days below −28°C, visibility down to 10 metres at times and numerous snow drifts waist deep which seemed to have appeared from nowhere. It’s all part of the experience…

Webby joins the Aurora Australis team

Last Friday the team waved goodbye to Davis’ favourite expeditioner.

Webby left his Davis family to join the Aurora Australis as it headed south to conduct Mawson’s annual resupply. He was like a celebrity at the Oscars — everyone wanted their photo taken with him.

We miss you already Webby!


To all of our Irish friends, let it be known whilst listening to Irish music we raised a Guinness pie and a wee Guinness beer for you on St Patrick’s Day.

World Meteorology Day was held last week — our Met team hosted a social gathering in the Met building and once they had our attention they did their best to educate us on weather systems, Met symbols and types of clouds. To win a free jelly dessert you had to guess the Met symbol, and for the more artistic ones they were asked to design binoculars out of empty Arnotts biscuit packets. Note the photo below… Stu won the award for best binocular design, as they came with clouds (marshmallows).

Due to poor weather, band practice this week was held in the Living Quarters (LQ). As all the instruments are in the band hut and any attempt to carry them across in high winds wouldn’t have been a sensible idea, the team decided to improvise and just sing along to some of their favourite numbers in the main LQ. The sound was so unique even the elephant seals on the beach joined in, all voices sounding very similar.

Wildlife and scenery

The sights, sounds and smells at Davis station…